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Pernod Posts 5% U.S. Growth In First Half, Led By Off-Premise, E-Commerce Segments

February 11, 2021

Pernod Ricard saw solid growth in the U.S. in its fiscal first half ended in December, with sales increasing 5% on strong gains from the off-premise and e-commerce segments. Other key markets like China and India were also on the rise, but on-trade closures and travel restrictions cut into the business elsewhere, with overall organic sales down 3.9% to €5 billion ($6.1b) and profit from recurring operations dipping 2.4% to €1.6 billion ($1.94).

Pernod said its e-commerce channel in the U.S. surged 84% in the first half, contributing strong momentum to the business. Top-seller Jameson continued to grow despite its high exposure to the challenged on-premise segment, with the brand advancing 10% to cross the 4-million-case threshold for calendar 2020, according to Impact Databank. Malibu rum was also up by strong double-digits, with Pernod crediting the surge to upweighted media investment and noting the launch of a new Malibu Strawberry flavor.

The Glenlivet single malt Scotch continued to gain traction despite tariffs on single malts in the U.S., and Tequilas Altos and Avion likewise posted strong performances. Meanwhile, Absolut vodka rebounded last year, reattaining the 3.5-million-case mark in the U.S. on 3.5% growth in 2020, according to Impact Databank. In the liqueur segment Kahlúa has seen a resurgence, with annual volume up 6% to 800,000 cases, boosted by the debut of a Blonde Roast extension. Recently acquired brands Malfy gin, Jefferson’s Bourbon, and Smooth Ambler, TX, and Rabbit Hole whiskies also contributed to growth.

Globally, Pernod saw a mixed performance in the first half, with sales in China and India on the rise, along with Germany, the U.K., Russia, Poland, and Turkey, but Spain, France, Ireland, and the global travel retail segment were weighed down by restrictions due to the pandemic.

“Despite an uncertain and volatile environment, with disruption in the on-trade and a prolonged downturn in travel retail, we anticipate organic sales growth for full-year FY21, thanks in particular to our dynamic performance in domestic must-win markets USA, China and India,” said Pernod Ricard chairman and CEO Alexandre Ricard.—Daniel Marsteller

Pernod Ricard—Top Five Brands in the U.S.1 
(millions of 9-liter case depletions)
Rank Brand1 Origin/Type 2019 2020E Percent
1 Jameson Irish Whiskey 3.7 4.1 10.0%
2 Absolut Imported Vodka 3.4 3.5 3.5%
3 Malibu Imported Rum 2.2 2.7 21.6%
4 Seagram’s Gin Domestic Gin 1.8 1.8 2.0%
5 Kahlúa Imported Liqueur 0.8 0.8 6.0%
Total Top Five2 12.0 13.0 8.9%
1 Includes flavors.
2 Addition of columns may not agree due to rounding.
3 Based on unrounded data

Source: IMPACT DATABANK © 2021
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